My dream day

by Ecem Oskay

The recent implementation of the new immigration law in Arizona initiated a nation-wide discussion on the issue of immigrants who live in the US without legal documents. The more it surprises me that the âÄúMy Dream DayâÄù which took place on the University of Minnesota campus organized by undocumented young immigrants and held about a month ago on April 8, 2010 did not receive any attention at all by the media. For those of you who do not know what the event was about: The 6th Annual Student Day gathering brought together high school students from all over Minnesota in order to advocate for their cause to get equal access to higher education regardless of their legal status. The state of Minnesota does not grant access to higher education benefits to undocumented children. Therefore, these young people have to pay up to three times the amount a local student from Minnesota would have to pay to go to college. This year the students decided to focus on the University of Minnesota and pressure the university to change its tuition policies and accept immigrant students as residents and not as international students. This year about 600 students from different backgrounds participated in the event supported by students from the University of Minnesota. In order to raise awareness of their cause, students set up meetings with faculty members from different departments. They wanted to make sure that their personal stories were heard. It was inspiring to see how passionate the students were about their goals in life. We, as university students, often forget how privileged each one of us is to be able to take our future into our own hands. These high school students clearly have a goal in mind âÄì improve their situation through education. They all had specific plans with their future. So, why not give them the possibility to pursue their dreams? By the way, the right to education is a basic human right. According to the Dream Act Portal, approximately 65,000 youth out of 3,000,000 students, who graduate from high school in the US every year, do not have the opportunity to continue to go to college due to their legal status. It is important to mention that most of these children have been living in the US almost all their lives and consider the US as their home. The present education policies in Minnesota and in the US in general would certainly have a grave impact on the future of the country in that it would leave big parts of the population becomes uneducated low-skilled workers. I believe that it is important for every student to have the opportunity to acquire good education and to take their lives in their own hands. These kids are more than willing and motivated to do so. The American Dream is based on the dreams of immigrants. We should not let our traditions fade away. Ecem Oskay University undergraduate student